Why Direct Marketing Is Still King of ROI


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As new online tools have become available, traditional tactics have remained consistent, creating a perfect storm for reaching customers with personalized, one-to-one messages. The ability to eliminate customer siloes and enable a cross-channel marketing experience directly to the customer makes direct marketing the king of ROI in the marketing world.

Below are some of the most powerful direct marketing tactics available today, including how frequently they are used, and their effects on ROI. Our insights are backed by recent survey results from the Target Marketing Magazine’s “Media Usage Forecast 2013.”


market Why Direct Marketing Is Still King of ROIEmail is the backbone of direct marketing, according to the survey results. The data shows 94% of marketers plan to use email marketing in 2013, with 63% planning to increase email’s portion of the budget.

Email marketing is the leading driver of B2B customer acquisition (39.8%) and customer retention (53.1%), making it the single most important channel for B2B marketers looking to increase ROI. Interestingly, email is the second most effective customer acquisition and retention direct marketing tactic in the B2C space, trailing behind direct mail.

Direct Mail

Despite rumors of the United States Postal Service being on the decline, direct mail for marketers is alive and well, and remains a significant direct marketing channel. The data shows, in 2007, direct mail was the most commonly used direct marketing channel (91%); today, 80% of marketers claim to use direct mail, according to this year’s survey.

Direct mail is a customer acquisition and retention giant for B2C marketers. In fact, 31.3% of B2C marketers believe direct mail is the strongest driver of customer acquisition and retention (37.5%), the leading tactic for each. Direct mail may be battling newer, most flashy direct marketing channels, but there is no doubt that it remains one of the most vital B2C channels with regard to ROI.


Have you ever had a question about a brand, product, or service, and been told to “Google it?” The fact that Google has become a catchphrase in popular culture illustrates the importance of brands appearing in search results as a direct marketing tactic.

The Target Marketing survey results show 90% of today’s marketers utilize SEO, with about half planning to increase their usage. Only 9.2% of B2B marketers and 10.4% of B2C marketers cite search-related marketing as the strongest driver of ROI for customer acquisition, but getting on the first page of search results can be a beneficial way of increasing brand awareness and getting on the customer or prospect’s radar.


There are more than 1 billion monthly active users on Facebook; this number can serve as its own argument as to why social is important to direct marketers in 2013. Aside from the sheer number of users, social media offers brands and services the ability to connect directly with their fans and followers, engaging in two-way communication.

The Media Usage Forecast shows 89% of marketers are currently using social for engagement. Social also appears as a top 5 tactic for customer acquisition (12.5%) and retention (10.4%) on the B2C side, while still gaining its ROI footing on the B2B side. Properly leveraging social data can serve as an extremely powerful tactic, as customer profiles with collected customer social interactions can open the door to further targeted messages that could lead to conversions.

Email, direct mail, search, and social are the reason why direct marketing is still the king of ROI. As digital channels continue to open doors for highly-targeted messages, traditional direct marketing channels like direct mail continue to return high conversions, a perfect blend for direct marketers looking to drive a high ROI.


Republished with author's permission from original post.

Kristin Hambelton
Kristin Hambelton is responsible for all marketing efforts for Neolane including corporate communications, branding, product marketing, demand generation, partner marketing, and operations.


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